Recent review: Paul Wolkoff, Atl GA
"We were selling our house and found out we had a high radon level in our basement. We first hired another local radon mitigation company based on referrals. After several unsuccessful mitigation attempts by the other company, we contacted Georgia Radon Solutions. Mitchell was very responsive and came to our house early the next morning to assess the situation. He created a plan, explained his recommendations and answered all of our questions. He and his crew were professional, hard working and successfully reduced the radon level. We highly recommend Mitchell and have already referred him to a friend."
If you've tested your home and the results were low, tell everyone you meet and ask them what their radon levels are. If they don't know, ask them why not? If you did have high radon levels in your house and you had it fixed, brag a little and see if they've tested. If you found a radon specialist that you were particularly happy with, pass that company's name on to as many people as you can...they'll be more likely to have the problem fixed if you've already taken the time to find someone that they can trust as well.
WHAT IS RADON?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water. Radon is radiation. There are no safe levels of radiation, so the higher the radon level around you, the greater your risk. Health experts recommend that you try to minimize your exposure to all forms of radiation including x-rays, nuclear radiation and solar radiation, but especially radon because of its ability to mutate cells within the human body by prolonged exposure.
Radon is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air. A pico Curie is a measure of the amount of radioactivity of a particular substance. A liter is about equal to a quart. The level of radon in outdoor air is about 0.4 pCi/L. The average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L. The EPA has established 4.0 pCi/L as the action level for radon in houses, schools and workplaces. This is a technology-based number, not a health-based level. The World Health Organization's latest recommendation is that your home or office be averaging the equivalent to 2.7 picocuries per liter or below!
Radon is element # 86 on the periodic chart of elements. It is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas with a radioactive half-life of only 3.82 days. Radon is created when radium, element #88, breaks down through radioactive decay. Radium's half-life is 1622 years. The amount of radon in your home will be determined by the amount of radium present in the soil that surrounds your house. It also depends on the ease of entry and amount of negative pressure within the home.
HOW RADON ENTERS OUR HOMES?
Within everyone's homes are different pressures. You can't feel them but they are there. The upper portion of a home is under a positive pressure with air trying to get out and the lower portion of the home is under a negative pressure with air trying to get in. Somewhere in the middle is the neutral pressure zone where air isn't trying to get in or out. So the higher you go, the stronger the positive pressure. The lower you go, the stronger the negative pressure. It is this negative pressure, that pulls radon into our homes. The greater the temperature differential between the inside of our homes and the temperature outside our homes, the greater the pressures become. So radon levels are usually higher in the winter, then summer with spring and fall being the lowest.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts are directed at locating homes with high levels and encouraging mitigation. As a means of prevention, the EPA and the Office of the Surgeon General recommend that all homes below the third floor be tested for radon. Because radon is invisible, a test is the only way to determine high radon levels. The EPA recommends mitigating homes with high radon levels (e.g., above 4 pCi/l) and there are straight-forward reduction techniques that will work in most any home.
Radon Inspection Self-Testing Recommendations for Home Owner's
What makes Radon so dangerous?
Radon is the #1 cause of cancer after smoking and kills more than 21,000 Americans every year. Radon is radiation and like all other forms of radiation, is completely invisible. Radon can cause extensive cell damage and creates the mutated cells that turn into cancer. Many families are living in homes with radiation levels that exceed the EPA’s allowable limits for Nuclear Power Facilities and are unknowingly being exposed to higher radiation doses than hundreds of chest x-rays every year.
Not everything causes cancer, but it seems like that sometimes on the news reports. Cooking a hamburger on the grill every day for an entire lifetime apparently causes cancer but statistically only effects about one person a year. Same with cell phones, sugar substitutes and all the other cancer scares we hear about. Unfortunately, all of those less significant risks distract us from the major causes of cancer like smoking and radon. In other words, it doesn't make much sense to worry about the splinter in your finger when there's a tree about to fall on you. Quit smoking, fix your radon problem, then maybe go ahead and relax, call a friend, fire up the grill and enjoy a diet soda.
Why we do not test for Radon
Georgia Radon Solutions does not offer radon testing. We believe this would pose a conflict of interest. For a radon removal contractor to also test for the presence of radon – they might have an incentive to find higher levels than do actually exist. However, we do offer inspection services to identify how the radon is entering your home (once you have tested and found it is present), and we are happy to recommend testing firms.
Timing, Test Types, Home Owner Testing
Time exposed multiplied by the amount of radiation, equals dose. So living in a house with 1 pCi/L for 5 years is the same radiation exposure as living in a house with 5 pCi/L for 1 year. Same amount of radiation exposure in both cases. Just like standing next to a nuclear power plant for 2 hours is twice as bad as standing there for 1 hour. So, either lower the amount of radon your family is exposed to or the amount of time exposed and it will immediately begin to effect your past exposure while also protecting your family in the future. Be sure to also test anywhere you or a family member spends a lot of time like at work, school, child care, etc. There are a variety of test kits to choose from and they are extremely accurate so long as you follow the directions that come with each kit. Laboratories that provide the results are monitored to ensure accuracy and follow very specific guidelines for quality control.
Short term Radon Inspection Testing
Runs 2 to 30 days, depending on the device. Will give you an accurate reading, but only for a short window of time.
Levels vary sometimes 10% to 20% (weather and season dependent). If you have time, do a long term test, its more reliable.
Long Term Radon Inspection Testing
Runs 3 to 12 months. Provides the best reflection of the radon exposure threat.
Types of Radon Inspection Tests
Home buyers biggest request: Continuous electronic monitors. Why? They are hard to tamper with.
Charcoal cans: Most common form of testing. They are inexpensive, accurate and easy. Simply place two cans side by side in your basement.
Most common long term tester: Alpha Track. It’s simple, but should be employed over multiple seasons. Check it in heating, cooling and open window situations. E Perms: Used by public health departments. Can be re-used and employed in the short or long term.